Saturday, July 14, 2012
I was standing in the press line at the DGA this morning to snatch up a “hard ticket” for “Making Love” (which screens tonight at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Hollywood) when a fellow struck up a conversation with me.
When he noted that a couple of short films (presented at Outfest yesterday afternoon in a program titled "Looking For?") didn’t appeal to his artistic sensibilities, I was inclined to quiz him on the issue.
“Why not? Was it the subject matter, or the way the films were executed?”
“Well, a bit of both,” he quickly noted on-the-uptake.
“Actually, I have a form that I use,” he stated matter-of-fact, as he pulled a questionnaire out of his briefcase.
At the top of the sheet there were blank spaces to write in the name of the film and its director, the time and date of the screening, and so-forth-and-so-on.
Below that, there were also blank boxes labeled - story, production values, acting, etc. – where he ceremoniously filled in a score (1-10).
“Oh, so you don’t know how a film did until you add up the numbers, eh?” I joked.
Actually, I nearly broke into laughter (so ridiculous was the idea), but managed to contain myself.
I expect when movie reviewers around the country read this “shout” for the day, that they will have a big chuckle, too.
Formula film critiquing?
It would be nice if reviewing a movie was that easy.
Only in Hollyweird!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Some idiots are gluttons for punishment.
For example, last week Tattler readers may recall that I penned a post in which I criticized design flaws at the West Hollywood Public Library and the snotty behavior of the staff on duty.
Today, when I approached the desk at the WeHo library on a different matter that needed to be resolved, a snippy worker interrupted our conversation to ask if I published a post about the West Hollywood Public Library.
Because my posts speak for themselves, I have a policy of not discussing them in public or even during the course of interviews with the media, business associates, friends, etc.
Although, I tried to be polite (the poor little loser obviously didn't have a clue) and move on to the matter at hand, the rude pushy young man continued to badger and annoy me.
I wanted to yell - "Security" - but held myself back
"Did you write a post about this library,” he demanded to know.
Whether I did or not was neither here-nor-there.
After all, in the United States we are entitled to our opinions and the right to free speech.
Notwithstanding, I am an art and film critic, and it is my job to pen reviews (whether he likes it or not) that spin from the creative mind.
The uneducated little cry-baby - with all the intelligence of a worm - had no right confronting me in that public facility in the manner that he did with othe patrons gazing on either.
Once again, a staff member at the West Hollywood Public Library has - not only demonstrated their propensity for inappropriate conduct (and shown a shocking lack of manners and proper etiquette) but underscored just how ignorant and low-life they are. at the WeHo library.
Is he going to tear up my library card and scratch my eyes out, too?
While in the service of the city, the young man should never confront a patron in the manner in which he did, because – in essence – he was violating my right to free speech and trampling on my entitlement (as a tax payer) to access a public facility freely without interference or "cross examination" or a requirement that I explain my artistic sensibilities to satisfy his foggy little brain.
Until the West Hollywood Public Library purges itself of unintelligent, incompetent employees – who engage in inappropriate conduct that smacks of abuse of power and harassment – they will not only remain potentially liable for their damaging actions but remain the ridicule of the neighborhood.
Where do they find these mincing queens, anyway?
And, how was your day, eh?
A light drizzle – rare for Los Angeles in July – didn’t dampen the spirits of filmgoers who descended in droves on the plush Orpheum Theatre last night to attend a screening of the premiere of “Vito”.
In fact, Outfest’s kick-off GALA event generated a lot of excitement with the locals, that’s for sure.
Limos purred curbside, and the paparazzi jockeyed for position, as high-profile members of the LGBT community – and a handful of celebs – trotted down the carpet into the spotlight for their moment in the sun.
The 30th Anniversary celebration was a definite highlight of the season.
Rikki Lake delighted guests when she put in an appearance at the podium and personally introduced John Waters (Pink Flamingos) who was waiting in the wings.
Waters – the undisputed “Queen” of “Queer” film (who was being honored with an Outfest Achievement Award) – brought the house down when he offered up a few hilarious anecdotes before the premiere screening commenced.
“As you know, I’ve always been gayly incorrect, and the lesbians used to hate me for it. Today, I am definitely a radical feminist, though” he cackled, as elated guests roared their approval.
He also pooh-poohed the notion of studio suits that explicit gay material was too risky to thrust on mainstream audiences. In essence, he recommended that filmmakers keep on – remain true to themselves - and push for what they believed in.
“We’ve experienced pain and turned it in to laughter.Through it all, we’ve survived.”
The kinky filmmaker – applauded for his risk-taking – was funny, articulate, and bang on (as they say) when it came to his take on gay life, one’s “outness”, and controversial issues of the day (the topic of same-sex marriage, for instance).
After a couple of rousing speeches from festival organizers, the lights went down, and the audience settled in for a vastly informative documentary on the life and times of gay activist Vito Russo (Vito).
The film, directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, was powerful.
A review will follow.
At the after-party, chic guests sipped on exotic cocktails at an open bar sponsored by Absolute Vodka and nibbled on tasty finger foods provided by Earlez Grille Catering and YummyCupcakes (to name a couple).
In one corner of the packed VIP affair, I spied Bruce Vilanch (sporting one of his ubiquitous signature t-shirts he is known to collect) holding court with a posse of admirers. Vilanch, as you may probably know, is a celebrated six-time Emmy-Award winning writer (who delighted TV audiences with his wit and charm on Hollywood Squares for about four years).
The man with the wild "do" is also responsible for a number of side-splitting quips that presenters utter up each year at the Oscar Celebrations.
Bai Ling – gorgeous and sexy in a sheer designer gown - dropped by to tease me at one point. She's such a scene-stealer. A video clip of the pouty starlet will be uploaded to my YouTube channel later today or early tomorrow (http://www.YouTube.com/ijulian9).
I also spied Kat Kramer (Stanley Kramer’s daughter) chatting up friends across the room and surrounded by well-wishers.
When Quentin Lee bumbed into me near the bar, he was quick to plug his new movie "White Frog" which stars B.D. Wong and the always lovely Joan Chen (it screens next week at Outfest on July 21st at the DGA).
Misty, a neighborhood friend who is co-owner of the Yogurt Stop in WeHo, sauntered over to greet me with her pretty girlfriend in tow. I also captured them on video, too.
As I cruised through the party-goers, I caught snippets of conversation here-and-there.
The big topic of discussion?
Same-sex marriage, of course.
And, film enthusiasts were exciting discussing the films they planned to take in over the course of the next ten days at Outfest.
Check out the film schedule and try to attend, eh?
You won’t regret it.
Just this morning, a Tattler reader informed me that the photographs of Tony Hamilton originally posted with an article I penned on him a couple of years ago, vanished from the website. Curiously, the publicity still of Jon Eric Hexam did not. Strange!
Subsequently, I am reposting this article today for readers to enjoy as it was originally published.
One day, a casting director gave me a shout and asked if I would mind doubling for an actor for an independent feature titled "Mirrors".
In those days, I was a bit of a workaholic and always in need of ready cash, so I jotted down the location address and dashed out the door full of vim and vigor.
As I was signing in with the assistant director, a breathtakingly handsome actor appeared at my right and strode confidently across the sound stage towards us.
"Tony, this is Julian. He'll be your double today."
We subtly sized each other up, then settled in for the task at hand.
Although location shoots may be adrenalin-boosting on occasion, this shoot proved to be somewhat draining; so, when I was wrapped early in the evening I was out the door before the ink was barely dry on my pay voucher.
Tony was still on the set rehearsing for the martini shot.
Shortly after that gig, I occasionally bumped into Tony (Hamilton) after hours on the night-club party circuit in West Hollywood.
He cut a fine swath around town, in his black 450SL Mercedes Benz convertible, as he hotly pursued his career (and addiction to sex) with lusty carefree abandon.
Hamilton was born in Liverpool and grew up on a sheep farm in Australia.
Fate appeared to nudge him into the dance arena - in part due to the fact - a significant portion of the curriculum at the schools he attended (Scotch College & Adelaide) was focused on Ballet.
In fact, The Australian Ballet Company welcomed him into their fold after his formal training was complete and auditions established that he had not only a dramatic flair, but was blessed with a unique talent for dance.
During one performance in 1972, a fashion photographer noticed how photogenic he was, and offered him a career opportunity in modelling.
Tony quickly booked assignments in America, Europe, and Asia.
Richard Avedon bowed at his feet.
And, he was a favorite of Bruce Weber, a top photographer of the day/
You may have spied Hamilton gracing the pages of Vogue and GQ during his golden years, delivering up delicious fashion statements by the likes of visionary superstars such as designer Gianni Versace.
I was driving in hectic rush-hour traffic one day when there was a news flash on the radio.
According to the News Anchor, Jon Erik Hexum - a co-star on the popular action-adventure TV series "Cover-Up" - was toying with a prop on the set and shot himself accidentally in the head.
Hexum is pictured at the right.
The wound proved to be fatal.
In the wake of the tragedy, Tony was plucked from relative obscurity to step into Hexum's role.
Suddenly, Hamilton was thrust into the spotlight - and as a result - his star rose quickly.
Tony was particularly well-known for his perfect pecs, startlingly handsome face, and a steady gaze that could melt the hardest of hearts.
What a hunk!
As it turned out, Tony worked out at the same gym as I did, the Athletic Club.
The privatelly-owned hang-out for serious body-builders was a hop-and-a-skip down the street from the infamous Sports Erection - excuse me - Sports Connection.
One day, I dashed into the change room, tore off my clothes, and started to head for the showers.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Tony standing in the shadows, packing up his gym bag.
What a shock!
In the half-light, I noticed right away that Tony's face had a gaunt-like appearance, and that his body appeared to be startlingly thin.
I tried to conceal my first thought, but judging from Tony's all-knowing glance, he knew right away that I was clued in.
The tell-tale physical signs indicated he was obviously in advanced stages of the disease.
My heart sank!
Within a few weeks, the rumor-mill started up.
Within a short span of time, industry-insiders were keenly aware of his troubling medical problem.
Unfortunately, in those days - the 3-drug combo known as the "cocktail" which is used today to effectively combat the disease (and keep it at bay) - had not been developed by A.I.D.S. researchers yet.
When the word got out, casting directors stopped calling him for interviews - and producers and studio executives who once sang his praises - shunned him.
The news of the A.I.D.S. epidemic was just breaking in the media around the country and the hysteria had risen to a fever pitch.
Loved ones - even nurses and health-care professionals - were afraid to touch an A.I.D.S. patient for fear of catching the dreaded killer virus themselves.
The ignorance running rampant was astounding!
Sadly, Tony passed to spirit in 1995, after a bout of A.I.D.S. related pneumonia.
This evening when I was researching a few facts about his childhood years, I was quite taken aback to learn that Tony and I were both born the same year (1952).
Astoundingly, his birthday was May 4th, two days earlier than my own on May 6th.
I'll always remember two things about Tony.
His stunning masculine beauty and his gentle loving spirit.
Who could ask for anything more?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Just recently, it came to my attention that a person (or persons unknown to me) hi-jacked a page from my Tattler web site and cleverly incorporated it into another blog to give the impression that I was somehow associated with that Internet presence.
Because the site contained “questionable material”, I immediately fired off a communication to “google” (since the site in question – and my own – are sponsored by blogspot) to request that an infringement on the copywrited material be halted.
Concerned individuals (including one journalist at the Los Angeles Times) have complained on record that it is usually a difficult task to reach staff at google to raise issues in respect to glitches (and oversights) on various websites they own and operate on the Internet.
In fact, I have usually encountered the same problem whenever I have tried to rectify problems with the loopy edit bay on blogspot, publishing screw-ups at the Tattler, you name it.
Imagine my surprise yesterday, when I not only received a response back in twenty-four hours, but also a confirmation that the “google team” had deleted the offending material from the web site in question.
So, today, I am thankful that google rose to the occasion in a prompt professional manner.
Since I am often quick to criticize their shortcomings, I think it only appropriate to give credit when it is also due.
As to the “identity theft”, well, I have my suspicions as to who the culprit is.
Tattler readers may recall that I published a couple of posts this past year when it came to my attention that a demented individual I crossed paths with years ago (though I do not recall the alleged encounter) was publishing false statements about me on the Internet.
Originally, the writer (I use the term very loosely) contacted me on the premise that we knew each other at Rochdale College during a one-year time frame (1969 – 1970).
In his e-mail, which arrived out-of-the-blue one day, he noted that he was writing a book – at which point – he began to quiz me about facts and information that I was privy to. At one point, his answers were a little off-the-wall, and I sensed immediately that he was pumping me for information with a private agenda in mind. So, I cut off communications.
Obviously, the man had psychological problems and couldn’t deal with rejection – because shortly after I cut off ties – third parties contacted me to inform me that he had proceeded to write bold-faced lies about me on various web sites on the Internet.
I tracked down the false statements, thereafter, and proceeded to publish rebuttals.
Well, the wacko was so demented, that he proceeded to publish another post in which he now alleged that I had libeled him when I threw a spotlight his outrageous conduct which included bald-faced lies about me!
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was simply setting the record straight.
If you call a person a liar -and they are - you can’t be sued for libel on those grounds.
So, I was forced to post another rebuttal in a deliberate effort to toss the spotlight on this man’s wacho behavior (which was not only outrageous in a civilized society - but sick – by any human or moral standards).
At this juncture, other Rochdale students – who stumbled on the posts by accident – contacted me to inform me that they – too – have been victimized. According to these individuals, “Wolf's" mental state was seriously deteriorating. And, because he was lashing out at everyone viciously, the Rochdale web site banned him!
In their e-mail correspondence they asked me not to mention to their names because they also feared retaliation.
One student also sent me a copy of an e-mail "Wolf" zipped off in which he wildly boasted that he had “destroyed” me on the Internet (by posting the false statements that discredited my name and reputation).
“That’s what he gets for f**king with me,” he gleefully ranted to the third party, in so many words.
“They don’t call me the Wolf for no good reason,” he ranted.
At this point, in view of other comments he also made, I seriously considered lodging a criminal complaint against him for engaging in hate crimes.
When folks talk about "sickos' on the Internet, he's on the top of the list of when it comes to the usual suspects.
I expect that one day that I will pick up the newspaper, or turn on the nightly news, and hear that he died in some unspeakable manner at the hands of another.
If you live by the sword, you die by the sword, eh?
If you were a resident of Manhattan in the early 70’s, then you were quite familiar with a show-biz personality by the name of “JOBRIATH”.
After all, dozens of images of the would-be “glam superstar” (a likeness not dissimilar to a plastic manikin tossed on its side in an alley somewhere) screamed out from the top of skyscrapers and strategically-placed billboards all around the “Big Apple”.
Think “Angelyne” and multiply that by twenty.
According to the promoters, JOBRIATH was America’s answer to celebrated glitter Queen - David Bowie - who took the country by storm in the uninhibited seventies (during the British Invasion from across the big pond).
Unfortunately, JOBRIATH'S appeal to the masses didn’t pan out the way his managers intended; in fact, the response to one of his first performances on a television broadcast at the start of his career launch triggered a knee-jerk reaction.
On that occasion, audiences shook their heads in disbelief when he strolled out on stage in what appeared to be a futuristic spacesuit.
During the performance, JOBRIATH pressed a release button inside his sleeve - at which point - the helmet opened up and cascaded down to become a row “petals” surrounding the circumference of his swan-like neck.
“Weird, man,” was the general consensus by armchair critics at home.
“So, gay,” others uttered up in a “subculture” (just making its presence visible around the country at that time).
JOBRIATH was a classic example of what happens when slick (short-sighted) promoters try to “sell” the public something they just don’t want.
In contrast, clever Warhol – during the same era – managed to convince the mainstream that a “Tomato Soup Can” was Art.
Is it all in the packaging?
Next week, Outfest will screen a documentary on the ill-fated pop star titled:
Director Kieran Turner has weaved together a handful of interviews (with friends) and rare archival footage to paint a fascinating portrait of JOBRIATH’S life from the childhood years to his untimely death.
I personally met JOBRIATH through a contact of mine in the theatre when I resided in downtown NYC for a year (1973-1974).
I was originally invited to spend a weekend at his rented cottage in Provincetown (PA) to audition for a spot as a back-up singer for a tour he was putting together.
In spite of the fact JOBRIATH had cropped hair (a futuristic “look” he was flogging at the time) and mine was long and curly (a-la-Peter Frampton) we were almost a mirror-image of each other (about the same height and weight and build).
Right off-the-bat, I sensed he was attracted to me, but he kept his distance.
As did I.
After the rehearsals, he casually strolled over and asked if I wanted to go in to town with the band to have a cocktail.
“Sure,” I half-whispered.
When we strolled into the bar, jaws-dropped, and the patrons stared at him like he was a creature from outer-space or something.
The following morning, without further incident, I was on my way back to the city. The “gig” didn’t appear to be up my alley, so I went on my merry way.
Years later, biographers have contacted me to quiz me about what “he” was like.
Shy. Talented. Lonely. Intelligent. Ahead of his time. Misunderstood. An Original. Sexy. Gifted. A fish out of water.
Check the documentary out next week at Outfest and find out for yourself.
Tonight, Outfest kicks-off with an opening night GALA at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
A “who’s who” of the LGBT community are expected to turn out in full force to catch a screening of the premiere of “Vito” (a documentary on the life and times of the well-respected gay activist) and mingle later over exotic cocktails (and brewskies!) at a glittering after-party.
The ten-day festival – in its 30th year – officially throws its theatre doors open wide tomorrow at a handful of venues around Los Angeles (such as the DGA, Harmony Gold Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Village Theatre at Ed Gould Plaza, Redcat @ Walt Disney Hall, and the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre).
During the run, film buffs will be snapping up tickets to screen films that run the gamut (from hilarious shorts, to insightful documentaries, and romantic narratives).
There will also be a smattering of panel discussions about film (and the “biz”) with notables in the industry – as well as – tributes to legendary filmmakers such as kinky John Waters (he’ll receive an Outfest Achievement Award).
There will be special events such as a fun-filled Hairspray “sing-a-long” under the stars!
And, of course, there will be an endless round of Chi-Chi soirees attended by a galaxy of celebs, film fans, media types, and members of the LGBT community.
See ‘ya there!
HBO, ABSOLUTOUTRAGEOUS, EASE, OXYGEN, VARIETY, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 104.3MYfm, NBC UNIVERSAL, CocaCola, ORBITZ, STELLA ARTOIS, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, MERRILLY LYNCH
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Olympia Medical Center...worst hospital facility in Los Angeles! Dr. Shadi and Dr. Mario Rosenberg both quacks!
A local resident was in for a rude (insulting?) surprise when they were rushed to "Emergency" at the Olympia Medical Center (formerly known as the Olympic) in Los Angeles after suffering severe stomach and chest pains.
Shortly after a urine sample was taken, a Doctor – by the name of Jeffrey Tsai – strolled in to inform the patient that the lab tests revealed two infections that appeared to be the cause of the physical ailments.
But, imagine how the patient felt when the good doctor informed the middle-aged man that one of the infections was due to an STD (sexually-transmitted disease).
The patient immediately informed the doctor that it was quite impossible; after all, he hadn’t had any sexual relations with anyone (though he was embarrassed to admit it) for almost two years.
“I’ve been quite ill, and not feeling very attractive, so I haven’t responded to any sexual advances or overtures,” he noted emphatically.
"Over the past few months, doctors have conducted a number of blood and urine tests at various facilities around town, and the results were always negative."
Dr. Tsai either misdiagnosed the problem - or in the alternative – the lab must have mixed up his urine samples with those of another patient in the emergency department that night.
No wonder Olympia has a reputation for being one of the worst hospitals in the Los Angeles!
In recent years, patients have complained about botched foot surgeries, incompetent doctors, nurses that don’t speak English, you name it.
Sometimes the behaviour of doctors was baffling, too.
Although one individual was in serious pain– one practitioner by the name of Doctor Shadi - refused to write a prescription for a pain killer of any strength. When the patient noted that they would go to another hospital for relief, if necessary, Shadi simply shrugged and told the nurse to process the discharge papers.
When the doctor did so, however, he tried to protect his own butt (in a deceitful bold-face effort to avoid liability) by instructing the nurse to have the patient sign a release that stated the individual was checking out of hospital against the advice of the physician!
Nothing could be further from the truth.
“I won’t sign that,” the patient huffed to the nurse.
“I’m leaving because the doctor is negligent and guilty of malpractice.”
Another questionable specialist who tends to patients at Olympia – Dr. Mario Rosenberg – is an incompetent (dishonest?) physician that turns up at hospitals everywhere around the city like an old penny.
After being discharged from the hospital, patients were shocked to learn they were unable to make a follow-up appointment outside of the facility because Rosenberg doesn’t have his own office!
When concerned individuals tried to contact Rosenberg at a Beverly Hills address printed on his business card, they were duly informed that Dr. Rosenberg didn't rent any office space at the location.
Patients who conducted a search on Rosenberg on google later were taken aback to read news reports on the Internet that noted charges had been brought against the foreign-born physician for alleged insurance fraud.
Reporters noted for the record, by the way, that Rosenberg worked out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital and was on the Board of Directors at Herbalife!
Rosenberg is great at calling in a host of specialists during a patient’s visit, but rarely resolves the patient’s medical condition to their satisfaction.
But, the insurance company will be billed - probably overcharged - you can bet on that!
I wonder, does this man actually have a license to practice medicine in the State of California (or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter)?
Does Olympia Medical Center care?
I say, avoid this hospital like the plague.
Your life may depend on it.
If a motorist is not alert, he or she may become a victim of entrapment by the Beverly Hills Police Department on a short stretch of road on Rexford Drive between Burton Way and Santa Monica Boulevard.
Because Rexford runs through the Civic Center – which houses Beverly Hills City Hall, the Police Department, and the Public Library – there is a flow of pedestrian traffic at two crosswalks within a short distance of each other.
The City has, therefore, erected a stop sign at each location to ensure the safety of the residents and neighbors in the area.
Because the traffic is relatively light and the street is narrow, drivers may be inclined to simply slow down, then cruise on (it’s known as a California “stop”) their merry way.
That’s a big mistake.
Almost on a daily basis, I have spied police officers parked behind the bushes at the circular drive at the entrance to the library and public parking lot, waiting for a motorist to neglect to come to a full stop (the duration of which should be at least three seconds according to the law).
Personally, I think the Police conduct amounts to entrapment.
If so many people make the mistake, perhaps the City needs to post a sign down the street warning about the fact that there is a stop ahead.
How could so many people be wrong?
Instead of being helpful, the Beverly Hills Police Department has elected to take advantage of the situation - with the ultimate aim - of filling the public coffers with what I perceive as ill-gotten gains.
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 1:17 PM
When I received an invitation to the screening of SAMSARA, I was excited about attending.
After all, according to the press kit, filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson travelled to twenty-five countries on five continents to fathom the elusive current of “interconnection” that runs through our lives.
In this instant case – it’s so elusive – that the filmmakers haven’t managed to capture it on the screen through the entire ninety-nine minutes of wasted celluloid.
The publicity release alleges that through “breathtaking images” and “transcendental music” (if you can sit through endless replays of Enya, then you’ll love the soundtrack here, by the way) the filmmakers illuminate the links between humanity and nature.
By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts expectations of a traditional documentary and encourages our own interpretations, the handlers underscore in so many words.
The end result?
The audience is left in a rudderless boat to nowhere until the credits crawl and the lights go up.
Apparently the “seed” of the idea was inspired by “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
“When I was a kid in college, it (Space Odyssey) really whacked me in the head (!), and I guess I never got over it. The fact that you could take big screen commercial cinema and do something so amazing without words,” gushed Fricke in a recent interview.
Sorry Mr. Fricke, you’re no Stanley Kubrick!
Edit SAMSARA down to ten minutes, inlay a voice-over to connect the images, and submit a “Short Film Program” at a local film festival.
At the door, hand out a few fat “doobies” - and with any luck – you’ll win the Audience “Far Out” Award (you betcha).
1 ½ stars
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 12:20 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
When the first scenes of “Breakfast with Curtis” splashed across the screen, they triggered memories of my bohemian days in Kitsilano (Vancouver / B.C.).
The two-storey houses the characters communally-shared (which were artfully painted in psychedelic colors boasting wide verandas and fanciful bay windows with gingerbread trim) were just like those I spent carefree days lounging about in at home in Canada.
Frankly, film experience was like stepping into a time warp, of sorts.
In this off-the-wall low-budget Independent flick, the director adeptly rustles up a giggle or two – in part due to - a cast of off-beat characters that resonate with the audience (an eccentric rare book collector anxious to jazz up his web site with the able assistance of a young computer whiz coming-of-age, a young Lothario with a lust for wild sexy three-ways, a middle-aged father caught up in reefer madness, for instance).
The quirky little comedy is much ado about nothing, really, but it entertains.
“The production values were bad. If a filmmaker can’t afford to make a film the right way, they shouldn’t make it at all,” one tough critic lamented in the filmmaker’s lounge later.
If that was the case, a handful of gems might have never been made, I thought to myself as I brushed him off gently.
If a film has “heart” and shows the potential of a filmmaker (or the actors) I am inclined to ignore the rough edges and give at least one thumb up or an "A" for effort.
Every budding you talent needs to get a start somewhere, after all.
Though the flick may not make it into the mainstream, or be distributed by one of the majors, it will probably continue on the festival circuit and delight dozens of filmgoers along the way.
It's a great film to screen on a rainy night, by the way, in the event it gets released on DVD.
2 ½ Stars
You've got to be strong
They'll get you down
They'll trample you gladly
This is the end
How do I go on?
You've only just begun!
You've got to be strong
They'll get you down
They'll trample you gladly
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
The “Friends of Greystone” are tossing a “Tea and Talk” lecture – to be held in the living room of the Greystone Mansion – on Sunday July 15th at 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Beverly Hills.
The much-anticipated event is being presented by Steven Price.
The focus of the talk is on the architectural style known as “Mid Century Modern” which came about in Post-War living in Southern California.
The style is described as - “an exuberant optimistic vision of the future which employed dynamic forms and space-age materials to frame a backdrop to the American “good life” - according to the event organizers.
“No place personified that dream better than in California, and no place in California defined it better- and bigger – than in Beverly Hills. From the hillsides of Trousdale Estates, to the canyons of BHPO, to the flats reaching toward that new Century City rising in the distance” a promo on the subject asserts.
The lecture will toss a spotlight on notable “starchitects” of the day such as Richard Neutra, Walton Becket, John Lautner, Quincy Jones, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Catch the enlightening talk (as you sip on tea catered by Jackson Catering) if you can, eh?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association...engages in discrimination! Tim Grierson retaliates against fellow film critics!
Each December a disreputable posse of – ahem – local critics release a list of their so-called “Best Films” for that year which they deem noteworthy enough for a nod from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (the Oscar).
Usually, there is a knee-jerk reaction from film buffs, high-profile media types, and even the occasional “Joe Blow” in the community-at-large; after all, their misguided taste is obviously up their wazoo.
Who are these self-proclaimed arbiters of good taste and film sensibility?
If you cruise to their web site, and check out their credentials, it’s obvious that – for the most part – they’re a clubby bunch of nobody’s (snobs to boot) throwing their weight around.
On a serious note?
These despicable individuals (on the fringes of the film industry) openly engage in discrimination and retaliate against any individual who has the balls to express their opinions (especially when it ruffles feathers in their own corrupt backyard).
For example, a few months ago I thought it might be a good idea to join an established organization in the film industry, where I could engage in a healthy ongoing debate (and meaningful dialogue) about the state of film in Hollywood (and elsewhere around the globe).
Because I have been reviewing movies for three or four years (I studied the art and technical aspects of filmmaking, have taken courses in critiquing, and boast a background in Literature & Music) it appeared that my professional credentials made me a shoe-in (an asset to any organization in the field).
Imagine my surprise when I contacted the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (supposedly a professional outfit with high morals, professional standards, and keen Christian ethic) and – not only got the run-around – but was the victim of discrimination and retaliatory efforts to punish me (and ultimately) silence my “voice” in the show-biz community.
For instance, shortly after I zipped off a query about membership in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, I received a communication back from a gentleman by the name of Brent Simon (who identified himself as President of the outfit).
In response to my request about how to apply, Simon proceeded to instruct me to submit a request, which would be reviewed when the group next met (sometime in late spring).
Since that deadline (?) was months away, I proceeded to mark a date in my calendar as a reminder.
When April rolled around, once again, I fired off an e-mail to Mr. Simon.
At this point, he stalled and delayed once again.
On the premise that the "house" critics were busy with the all-important Cannes Film Festival, I was advised to take note that my submission wouldn’t be considered until mid-summer. No specific date was given, however.
At this juncture, I wanted to be sure that I submitted all the pertinent documentation so that I would be given due consideration.
When I asked Mr. Simon what paperwork I should send on, he was somewhat vague.
“Send in a few links to your movie reviews and a note stating why you want to become a member,” he advised, in so many words.
Once I followed through, Mr. Simon responded by noting that my “application” had been submitted to the sub-committee and the gentleman in charge of the process (Tim Grierson/ Vice President).
Now, it was getting pretty obvious to me that Mr. Simon and the association were giving me the run-around (and making me jump through hoops).
At this point, I worried that my application would never see the light of day at the so-called sub-committee level. So, I sent Grierson an e-mail to verify that he had – not only received the documents – but that they were all in order.
Mr. Grierson responded by noting that the organization would be in touch after the committee met and made a decision about my potential membership.
After that, the weeks passed, with no communication.
At this juncture, I began to cover the Los Angeles Film Festival underway downtown ( a scant few weeks ago).
After reporting on films and celebrities for about a week, I posted one feature criticizing the questionable conduct of the Festival Director, some staff members improperly corralling ticketholders on the Festival grounds, and oversights that went down that hurt some members of the press because employees in the PR Department were inexperienced and incompetent.
The day after I published this article, Mr. Grierson fired off an e-mail informing me that my application for membership was being rejected (and would not be sent on to the committee).
Well, it didn’t take a lot to figure out why Grierson snubbed me the way that he did. Obviously, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association was retaliating against me for criticizing the Los Angeles Film Festival staff.
Think about it!
The Los Angeles Film Festival is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times – and at least two critics at the paper that I know of (Betsy Sharkey & Kenneth Turan) - are members of the Los Angeles Film Critic’s Association!
At this point, I was angry.
As I noted to Mr. Grierson in a follow-up e-mail, I am a well-respected critic with a global readership, and subsequently, deserved better treatment.
I proceeded to ask Mr. Grierson for the name of his superior, so I could lodge a formal complaint against him.
Naturally, Mr. Grierson neglected to respond.
Why is he hiding?
I think it’s ironic that film critics (and journalists at the Los Angeles Times) are always pounding their chests and lamenting man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, then they turn around and engage in the same reprehensible conduct that they denounce!
In essence, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation not only discriminated against me, but tried to “silence my voice” in the final analysis.
These jokers are an elitist posse of losers who don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, if you ask me.
Good riddance to human rubbish!
Monday, July 9, 2012
It was a long time coming, and now that it’s here, it’s quite a disappointment.
Of course, I am referring to the spanking-new West Hollywood Public Library.
As expected, when the doors were thrown open wide earlier this year, the facility turned out to be quite a showcase - visually – at least.
Since WeHo bills itself as the “creative city”, it was obvious from the get-go that the focus would be on aesthetics, art, style, and what-have-you.
But, from a functional point of view the Library fails in many respects and is ultimately a disaster. In fact, some of the oversights are so glaring, you have to wonder if the “designer” even graduated (or attended) architectural school.
For starters, patrons are greeted at the front entrance with a series of ultra-steep steps that are a potential hazard to even the most able-bodied. In the alternative, guests have the option of taking an elevator (provided they can find it). The lift is tucked away in the rear of the building somewhere (so they tell me!).
Once inside the building, patrons are then forced to struggle up two more flights of stairs, constructed of hardwood (which amounts to a slippery slope for an individual not wearing the correct shoe with any traction to speak of) in the event they wish to avail themselves of the services on the second level.
If a senior citizen or disabled person is inclined to use the elevator, they are forced to trek down a long narrow hall to the back of the library, where a cramped postage-sized elevator that barely holds two people awaits the adventurous at heart.
And, God forbid, a male on the austere premises should have an urgent need to relieve himself in the restroom due to a weak bladder (or for having downed one-too-many brewskies the night before).
First, the hapless individual has to track down an employee in order to gain access to the “John”, go figure.
You’d think you were visiting a McDonald's in a seedy neighborhood, folks, where they keep an eagle-eyed vigil over the toilet-paper and hand-soap.
Then, once the patron has finally been “approved” for admittance, hopefully the stall is not in use.
Yes, I said that correctly.
The "Friends of the Library" spent millions of dollars on this swanky-looking white whale, but outfitted the closet-sized bathroom with one lone toilet, folks!
Ludicrous, don’t ‘ya think?
Although the floor plan is fairly spacious, it's been divided up so that is downright fussy and over-crowded-looking, in the final analysis. Maneuvering through the row of bookshelves is tricky, especially if there is an overweight patron in the aisle.
For some inexplicable reason, the staff have also been crammed into a cramped cubicle in two locations on the second level of the building shoulder-to-shoulder.
A satellite station (or two) around the library floor may have been better-suited to meet the demands of the patrons who frequent the hallowed house of knowledge (!). At the existing stations, the staff are busy picking their noses, kibitzing with each other, checking their e-mail, and what-have-you. When it comes to assisting a patron, well, they're as slow as molasses in January.
In fact, for the most part, the staff (a slew of 'em with all the personality of a worm) are a snobby lot who look down their noses at the book lovers.
Just betcha, there was a lot of politicking behind-the-scenes (nepotism, favoritism, palm-greasing, etc.) to land those jobs, eh?
But, the biggest joke of all, is the computer service provided gratis on an hourly basis for members. The software is so ancient that it boggles the mind to think that they spent big bucks on the library, but neglected the essentials, such as state-of-the-art computer equipment.
For example, the screens on the PC's freeze up every few minutes or so. And, the software program goes haywire if the computer is rebooted.
Forget about taking on a major research task in this environment. Patrons are lucky if they can rustle up one window to work in - and that's a fact - no kidding! On the occasions I have tried to do some research there, I was only able to access one window at a time!
Who bought (and set up) this junk?
The West Hollywood Library is a great place to get a gander at the renovated Pacific Design Center, check out a book or DVD, or be baffled by an odd collection of inferior art on exhibit - which - ultimately - underscores just how clueless the "curator" was.
Just betcha, that son-of-a gun (or gal) holds one motto true to their heart.
“I may not know what Art is, but I know what I like."
West Hollywood is the city with no taste or even a modicum of practicality or common sense.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
You’re getting old
people are under
people are under
You’re already six feet under
pushing up daisies!
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
For filmgoers who thrive on - short, thought-provoking, light-hearted, provocative films – this year’s Outfest is sure to satisfy the sensibilities.
The organizers have slated a series of “Short” programs over the ten-day festival that are inclined to appeal to every taste.
Here is a sampling:
Boys will be boys – especially when it comes to sex – you betcha. The filmmaker shorts on this roster take an erotic plunge and offer up a collection of celluloid fantasies that are bound to titillate (or give rise to a boner or two at least).
Saturday July 14th
Monday July 16th
Looking for ?
Here, the focus is on sex, sex, and more sex! Titillating tidbits for those who crave brief encounters in the “john”, quickies on the “go”, you name it. Something for every kinky taste. Life is an adventure, after all. What do they say? Seize the day!
Friday July 13th
Thursday July 19th
A program where obsession and desire take center stage for the ladies (lipstick Lesbos, diesel dykes, and the curious in the throes of jumping ship). The organizers promise there will be a few curve balls tossed into the mix just for the heck-of-it.
Friday July 18th
Tuesday July 17th
The young filmmakers project from Lifeworks and Outfest created this platform to empower and educate LGBT youth to tell their stories through the rich medium of film. Fourteen participants – ages 16-24 – are showcased in this much-anticipated screening event which will probably sell-out.
Saturday July 14th
As Bugs Bunny would say:
“That’s all for now, folks!”
A producer doesn’t have to shell out big bucks to land a film worth its weight in the can!
“Dog Eat Dog” is proof of that.
Although the “short” is a light-hearted comedy sweet and to-the-point – with nary a special effect or exhilarating ten-car smash-up – it sure packs a wallop.
In the first few scenes, the audience is introduced to a young dog-lover (Zachary Quinto) who pines for a lovable pet to spoil.
When the happy-go-lucky dude spies an adorable canine with personality at the local pound, he’s sold on the idea of adopting right-off-the-bat. There’s one problem, though. An elderly gent in the neighborhood is also keen on scooping up the pup.The dilemma is easily resolved, however.
“There will be a lottery. The person with the winning ticket gets to take the pet home,” a staff member at the shelter informs the lad matter-of-fact.
After a sleepless night or two, the prospective owner hatches up a ploy to ensure that the Lottery swings his way. Unfortunately, the senior he’s competing with has some tricks up his sleeve too!
Kudos to a competent ensemble cast for turning in subtle believable performances at a pitch that worked well here.
Sian Heder's light touch at the helm directing was bang on, too.
“Dog Eat Dog” is a delightful little gem that touches the heart – and likewise – thoroughly entertains.
Catch it if you can!